Inaugurated in 1917, and expanded in 1919, the Soldiers' Settlement Act was an effort to accommodate returning war veterans by offering either grants or loans for agricultural lands. Where Native veterans were concerned, the department preferred they receive such lands from existing reserve property, rather than from other Crown or Crown-acquired lands that were the source for non-Native veterans. The Act had other repercussions for Native rights. Under one section of the legislation, the deputy superintendent general acquired the power to grant location tickets to Native war veterans. The distribution of such tickets, previously an exclusive band council prerogative, now had passed in part to a government official, a move that weakened band autonomy and local government. The Act also allowed for surrendered reserve lands to be distributed to non-Native veterans. Between 1919 and 1922, some 68,000 acres of Prairie reserve lands were surrendered and sold to non-Natives, resulting in an erosion of reserves.

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